Click play to your right to hear from the English Department themselves!
What Is English?
English instills in students an ability to appreciate, analyse and question the world around them, allowing them to develop socially, emotionally and academically through their studies. Students will gain an appreciation of the power of the written word and will explore a range of fiction and non-fiction texts which will inspire, inform and challenge them.
In English, students will learn to become critical readers, accurate writers and will have the opportunity to communicate ideas with others during discussion and debate.
At Key Stage 3:
In Year 7, a bridging unit based upon Phillip Pullman’s ‘Clockwork’ and Floella Benjamin’s ‘Coming to England’ ensures that
the English department continue to build upon progress made in Year 6 and make the transition from the primary to the
secondary phase as smooth as possible. Students will continue to harness their reading and writing skills through close
analysis of modern and classic texts through the ‘People, Places and Time’ scheme of work. There is also an emphasis on
drama and expression, where students will work on performance and communication with others.
Throughout Year 8, students will continue to explore a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, starting with the ‘Islands’ scheme of work. They will study extracts such as Defoe’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’, Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ and Dumas’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, as well as a range of non-fiction texts, including newspaper articles, speeches and online blogs. Students will also study a range of monstrous and fantastical characters throughout the history of literature in the ‘Monsters, Myths and Mysteries’ scheme of work, where they will meet infamous and memorable creatures such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Bilbo Baggins.
In Year 9, students will learn to challenge what they read in the ‘Media’ scheme of work, which focuses upon a range of media texts including editorials and social media websites. Students will learn to question what they read and respond analytically to a range of non-fiction texts. Students will also learn to write creatively, with originality and flair, when producing their own writing for the ‘Inspired’ scheme of work. We will also delve into the world of Elizabethan theatre and become inspired by the words of Henry V in our study of Shakespeare’s famous history play.
Assessment will be both formative and summative throughout the year, with students being tested each half-term on their reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and receiving differentiated national curriculum levels. Students will be expected to map their progress throughout Key Stage 3 using the ‘Ladders to Learning’ in their exercise books, which breaks down the skills needed to progress to each level. This enables students to take responsibility for, and ownership of, their own progress in learning.
Students will also be tested on their reading skills via the Welsh Government’s national reading tests, which will allow them to track their own progress regarding their reading age.
At Key Stage 4:
At GCSE level, students will study two separate courses - ‘English Language’ and ‘English Literature’. The courses are designed to encourage learners to be inspired, moved and challenged by following a broad, coherent and dynamic course of study. Learners will become critical readers of a range of texts, ranging from classic Literature to modern non-fiction media texts. The English GCSE courses also requires learners to write accurately and fluently, choosing content and adapting style and language to a wide range of forms, media, contexts, audiences and purposes. Learners will also learn to present and listen to information and respond appropriately to the ideas of others whilst speaking and listening. The courses will also prepare learners to use language to participate effectively in society and employment.
For English Language, students complete two external examinations, one focused upon testing reading and writing skills. These examinations make up 60% of the overall grade for the course. Students will also complete a piece of Controlled Assessment (20%), producing a piece of creative writing and a response to reading in the classroom under controlled conditions. Finally, the students will be assessed on their ability to communicate effectively with others for the ‘Speaking and Listening’ element of the course.
For English Literature, students will complete two external examinations, with Unit 1 focusing upon ‘Prose from Different Cultures’ and ‘Contemporary Poetry’ and Unit 2 on ‘Literary Heritage Drama and Contemporary Prose’. These examinations will make up 70% of the overall grade. Students will also complete a piece of Controlled Assessment, comparing a Shakespearean play with a small collection of Literary Heritage Poetry (25%).
The English department always seek to enrich the learning opportunities of its students. We run frequent trips to the theatre, allowing students to experience the realities of dramatic performance. We also encourage learners to enter both national and regional creative writing competitions, and have had many great successes in such competitions. We have also had great success in the Rotary Club’s ‘Youth Speaks’ debating competition in recent years.